Guide to Advocacy and Outreach

APA advocacy is guided by the philosophy that public policy should be based on available scientific knowledge, and that psychological research can contribute to the formulation of sound public policy to address specific social problems and improve human welfare.

The Government Relations Office (GRO) is a major component of this program. APA's Government Relations Office works to:

  • Inform Congress about psychology and its relevance to federal policy.

  • Advocate for increased support for federally-funded psychological research and behavioral and mental health services.

  • Strengthen the voice of psychology at the regulatory level.

  • Advance opportunities for the education and training of psychologists.

  • Combine the expertise of psychologists to address the many challenges facing our nation.

Advocacy

In support of these goals, APA maintains a close liaison with decision-makers on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies by:

  • Working with them and their staff as they formulate legislation and regulations of interest to psychologists.

  • Preparing and disseminating briefing papers, congressional testimony, and responses to proposed federal agency regulations, and conducting formal congressional briefings.

APA also advises policymakers on a wide range of issues. Recent examples include: response to terrorism; application of human factors research to improve health and safety; welfare reform; behavioral research funding; psychology and education; federal graduate student loans and scholarship programs; and mental health needs of underserved populations, including children, older adults, and people of color. To learn more about these and other issues supported by APA, visit our Issues pages.

Outreach

The Government Relations Offices (GRO) keep members informed of recent federal initiatives and supports their involvement in the public policymaking process. To accomplish this goal, GRO has developed the following:

  • Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN), an e-mail grassroots network to help interested psychologists advocate for their discipline. GRO disseminates information and action alerts to PPAN members focusing on recent or upcoming federal legislative or regulatory action of concern to psychology.

  • APA Science Policy News (ASPN), a monthly electronic newsletter for those interested in Science Policy issues, which is now available by subscription from the GRO homepage.

  • Government Relations Update, a monthly article in the Monitor on Psychology, which features timely federal policy issues of critical importance to psychology.

  • The Federal Education Advocacy Network (FEDAC) that has regional coordinators and will soon represent the full spectrum of APA-accredited psychology education and training programs.

GRO also forges and maintains vital links between APA and other scientific and professional societies, organizations, and coalitions to advance common policy interests.